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UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK): 31 Jan 2000

Developments today, 31 January 2000 - Updated 3:30 p.m. EST
Civilian administration

Vehicle registration to resume tomorrow: The temporary registration of motor vehicles in Kosovo resumes tomorrow, nearly six weeks after it was closed to assess the efficiency of the exercise and prepare for the launching of registration centres outside the capital, Pristina. Vehicle holders are now required to provide proof of payment of a 15 per cent customs fee and 10 per cent sales tax on their vehicle before they can be registered, UNMIK said today. When the registration of vehicles closed on 18 December more than 3,000 had been registered.

UN officials meet with protesting bank employees: UNMIK officials today met with representatives of the newly established "Counsel of Protests", representing employees of the former National Bank of Kosovo, who allege that UNMIK has violated their rights to work. The Banking and Payments Authority of Kosovo (BPK) and the Bank Licensing, Supervision and Regulation Department was established to build a sound and stable banking system consistent with international banking standards. While former employees of the previous bank system, the SDK, were hired by the BPK, there was no promise of continued employment, UNMIK officials told the representatives. The officials advised the former employees to continue to seek new employment opportunities. UNMIK was planning to recruit senior and mid-level employees for the various departments of the BPK, the officials said. The recruitment will be "based on the principles of fairness and transparency," the officials said.

Details on departments to be finalized by tomorrow: Final details of the regulations establishing the first four administrative departments of the new Joint Administrative Structure (JIAS) in Kosovo are expected to be worked out by or at tomorrow's meeting of the Interim Administrative Council, UNMIK said today. The existing parallel structures are progressively being dissolved and incorporated into the JIAS. UNMIK also said that mid-level leaders of the Kosovo Protection Corps would be appointed in the next two weeks. week. About 58 members will be appointed in each region with ceremonies in Peja on 3 February, Mitrovica on 4 February, Pristina region on 5 February, Skenderaj on 9 February and Prizren on 10 February.

Power system now supplying 520 megawatts of electricity: The power system is now supplying 520 megawatts of electricity, with 425 produced locally and 95 imported from Albanian and Serbia, UNMIK said today. Kosovo needs about 600 megawatts in winter and power is still being rationed. UNMIK also reported that the 400 kv line to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is ready to begin transmitting imported power but it will be started progressively, with small amounts of energy at first. Negotiations are continuing with Macedonia over importing power.

Import taxes to be imposed on goods entering via Montenegro: The collection of import duties on trucks entering Kosovo through Montenegro is due to start on 4 February, UNMIK said today. Taxes on sales and excise duties on imports were legally established last September and are normally collected at international border crossing points with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania. But since 25 January, they are applicable to goods entering Kosovo via Montenegro.

UNMIK police reports grenade and chemical attacks: UNMIK Police said today that in Gnjilane yesterday a grenade was thrown at a Serb owned house but no injuries were reported. On Friday, an unidentified suspect threw a grenade on to a first floor balcony of a Serb owned flat in Lipljan in the Pristina Region, causing minor damage to the house. On Saturday, in Mitrovica, a grenade exploded in front of a garage owned by an Albanian, damaging the garage and vehicles. No injuries were reported. Also on Saturday, two boys from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia reported that while shopping at the Pristina Market two persons sprayed them with unknown chemicals, tied them up and put them inside a truck for about two hours. UNMIK Police arrested two suspects.

Humanitarian assistance

UN agency to inaugurate hospital laundry: The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) inaugurates tomorrow the new laundry service it has established in the maternity ward of Pristina hospital. UNPFA has donated four industrial-size washing machines, four dryers and two ironing tables, UNMIK said today.

For further information, contact the Spokesman's Office: tel (212) 963-7161/2; fax (212) 963-7055.